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229

of his own heart, and breathed the odour of dust and horse-
hair.

Miss Burnham was a long time in coming. She came at
last, moving toward him with a skirring sound of her black-
silk skirts and with her head bobbing nervously forward on
her long neck as though in a scarcely restrained and irritable
asseveration. He waited, holding his hat in his hands before
him, and she moved directly at him, as though she did not
see him, or as though he were not there at all, and then
stopped in front of him with the air of one who is startled
at an obstruction. She said, "Good morning, Mr. Munn."
Her head continued to jerk slightly back and forth with a
painful, mechanical motion, like a metronome asserting a
rhythm that had nothing to do with the events about her,

"Good morning," Mr. Munn responded.

She did not ask him to sit down, and made no motion
toward a chair. She continued to stand directly in front of
him.

"I'm sorry to have troubled you," he apologized, after
waiting. "I reckon the girl didn't understand me. I asked
if I could see May."

" She did not misunderstand you," Miss Burnham said.

"Well," Mr. Munn began, and hesitated. "I don't want
to trouble you. I just wanted to speak to May." Under the
necessity of her gaze, and the small regular jerking of her
head, he continued: "You know, we had aa misunder-
standing, and I wanted to talk to her. It's not serious. That
is, it shouldn't be-----"

That abstracted gaze and that movement of her head were
unchanged. His voice trailed ofi.

"You may not see my niece," she affirmed.

"Isn't she here?  I thought-----"

"She is here," Miss Burnham said.

"She is here?"

"But it is not possible for you to see her,"

"It's important," Mr. Munn asserted, his tone rising. "I
have to see her,"